Evelyn’s Birth Story

In honor of Evelyn’s 2nd birthday, I am re-posting the story of her birth. I always get so nostalgic around my baby’s births. I relive every minute leading up to their arrival and am filled with so much joy recalling their special day. Evelyn’s birth was incredible. I hope you enjoy reading it as much I enjoy sharing it.

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The first baby I ever caught….

…was my own. This is the birth story of Evelyn Taylor who made her way Earth side on Monday, May 20th at 5:39pm weighing 6 pounds & 14 ounces and stretching out to 18 and 3/4 inches. Her story begins on Sunday, May 19th…

On Sunday morning I woke up feeling tired, which was nothing new, but I could barely keep my eyes open. B headed to work and it was just me and Logan for the day. However, I knew I had to get some help with Logan so I called my parents and they gladly took him for several hours so I could sleep some more. As I was getting Logan ready I noticed contractions coming and going. This was nothing new as I had been in prodormal labor for weeks at this point. Of course I secretly hoped “today is the day” but all the false labor did not have me convinced.

I came home, ate some lunch and slept for a few hours through some mild contractions. Around 1:30 I woke up, feeling a lot more cramps in my low back. Again, I had been feeling these pains on and off for several days, but noticed they started off very close together, 2-3 minutes apart and rather uncomfortable. I updated my parents and B and tried to see if I could get labor going. I was still not sure if this was the real deal, but I figured walking and bouncing on the ball would help if it was.

  
After a few hours, I called B to come home a little early. I was beginning to think this was going to be the night and we had to get some things together. My parents had to drop Logan back off with us for a few hours before we left. I wanted to try and labor at home as long as possible. As of the previous Friday, I was 2cm dilated and 50% effaced with a very posterior cervix. So I labored away, contractions coming a little stronger and still every 2-3 minutes apart. Logan and I walked around our cul de sac as it was a beautiful night. The dogs ran around the circle with us and I knew this would be the last thing I would be doing with Logan before he became a big brother. Somehow, I held my emotions together most of the evening until it was time for us to leave for the hospital.

  
I was bouncing on the ball watching Bruno Mars open up the Billboard Music Awards. I had already called the triage nurse and was instructed it was time to come in. I called the hospital and everyone was ready for us. So I took Logan into my arms and told him his sister was going to be coming today, that he was going to be a big brother. I told him we were going back to Lolly and Pop Pop’s so he could have a sleep over with Pop Pop and then tomorrow, Grandma Mac would come and play with him after school. He seemed to understand everything, repeating what I told him. My eyes filled and I gave him a huge hug and kiss. Logan hates seeing me cry so I choked back the tears and off we went.

  
We dropped Logan off with my dad and picked my mom up. She and B were going to be my birth partners, taking turns helping me through this birthing process. We had a 30 minute drive to the hospital. Contractions stayed regular. Everything everyone else says about labor in a car is true–it sucks!! I could not wait to get to the hospital!

We arrived at the hospital just after 8pm. I was still 2cm and 50% so I got into the tub to see if that would help relax me. It worked! After 2 hours I was nearly 4cm and was admitted. The first attempt to get a hep lock in blew my vein but the 2nd one was done beautifully. The best part was that I did not need to be hooked up to anything. I was drinking plenty of water on my own and it was “just in case” and hospital policy.

I love the midwife, Lani, who was there when I walked in but she was off at 7am Monday morning. At this point, I’m very vague as to the timing of certain checks, but I would guess that between 10pm and 2am we walked the halls, I got back into the tub, and prayed for progress. Labor pains were still manageable but strong enough for me to stop and breathe. I was no longer able to talk through them. Around 5am I was checked again and made a little more progress, nearly 5cm with a bulging bag of waters. Up until this point, though I had been admitted, I had been laboring for over 12 hours and was making very slow progress. Both the nurses and my midwife talked about letting us go home to labor on our own, but I knew that was a bad idea. I knew my anxiety would shoot through the roof. I’d have no idea when it would be time for us to come back and that was another hour round trip in the car going through much harder labor than hours before. So when we found I was 5cm with a bulging bag, we all agreed that breaking my water was the best choice. At this point, I had been awake for over 24 hours and was really starting to feel exhausted.

After my water broke, we kept walking the halls. SIX hours later and I had made NO progress. I was so upset. At this point, I wasn’t going home because my water was broken so we decided that if by 1pm I was still 6cm we would start some pitocin. I labored on some more, contractions getting much stronger. We all really thought this meant I was progressing and baby was coming down more.

  
Around 1:30pm, Cassie, my midwife, came and checked me again. NOTHING. Maybe some more effacement around 75%, so it was time for some pitocin. My body was in labor, but taking it’s sweet time. Problem was I was so terribly tired I could barely keep my eyes open and I needed a break. Pitocin does not offer breaks! As they hooked me up to the pitocin, my nurse started things off nice and slow and I was given some fentenyl to take the edge off and help me rest. I laid in bed for about an hour. Contractions kind of went all over the place for a bit, but once the pitocin was flowing the contractions became really strong and very regular, about 2 minutes apart. Around 4:30pm I started begging for an epidural. My mom kept asking me if I was sure and I kept yelling yes! A true sign of transition. 😉

Some fluids were hooked up and I was given another dose of fentenyl as there was someone in front of me for the epidural. I was starting to lose it. Everything was an absolute blur. I could not move in bed. I just sat up and grabbed both sides of the bed, shaking my legs back and forth during contractions that were now nearly on top of each other. I was breathing hard and fast which made me feel light headed between contractions but I almost think that was a good thing. It was almost euphoric for a few seconds. This is where I realize now that the pains were not going to get any worse. With Logan’s birth, I was saying “no, no, no!” over and over again. It was only moments before Evie was born that I started to say things like “no!” and “where is my effing epidural?!”

My nurse Marilyn was amazing. She was so calm and supportive the entire time I labored. At one point she suggested she better check me because 2nd babies come faster. I was 8cm and fully effaced. She set everything up. Cassie came in to check on me and said she’d be in the OR training but as soon as I needed her she would be there. Moments later the anesthesiologist walked in. I said, “Thank you Jesus!!” I wonder how many women say that to him. 😉 He started to work very quickly. There were no breaks for me anymore and I was certain I was dying. Obviously, I wasn’t…it was just only a few moments before baby would come. He had me sit up and lean over a table. The change in position must have been all baby needed to really come down because I was suddenly pushing and could feel her head right there! The anesthesiologist had placed the cath and administered a small dose, but there was no relief and before I knew it I was screaming that I couldn’t stop pushing. I leaned over, almost on top of all the needles and things needed for the epidural.

Nurses filled the room and Cassie was still not there. Another doctor showed up, ready to deliver the baby and I yelled for someone to go get Cassie (which I know someone already had). She was really the only one I wanted to catch my baby. Then, she was there. She sat on the side of the bed. She made me look at her and she coached me through 3 of the most intense pushes and pain I have ever experienced in my entire life. I even remember yelling “I feel everything!!” and she said that was how it was going to be. As baby crowned she had me breathe her head out. I felt the ring of fire and remember telling myself it was for just a few seconds. Baby’s head would be out and the fire would go away. One more push and baby slid right into my hands. Cassie helped her head out and I reached down and caught my baby! I pulled her up onto my chest. She had a short cord so she laid mostly on my stomach. I spread the legs apart, B standing just to my right and together we saw she was a girl! We exclaimed with joy that baby was a girl and we all started to cry and laugh! I knew she was a girl and Logan especially knew he was going to have a sister.

  
Evie was covered in vernix. She had it in her ears and all over her little body. She was slow to pink up so she had some O2 placed over her face. She was so calm, barely cried. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing before B cut it. Evie pinked up quickly and the O2 was removed. She stayed on my chest for an entire hour while I delivered the placenta. I recall thinking, “oh yeah that thing has to come out too…” and it did easily. Cassie fixed a small tear with a few stitches and soon enough I was cleaned up and just enjoying my baby girl. Logan and B’s mom came by. Logan was a little overwhelmed by all the lights and instruments around the room, but he did take a few moments to say hi to me and his new sister. He gave me a “Mama” necklace and Evie a pink monkey. Their visit was short but just what I needed to get through the rest of the night without my first born.

  
It was a few hours before we were moved over to women’s care. I was able to get up and go to the bathroom on my own, something which I had not been able to do for several hours after Logan was born due to the epidural.

Putting this birth into words is hard. Yes, I wrote out as much as I could but to capture how truly incredible it was feels impossible. I’m still in awe that I gave birth naturally, without an epidural and so quickly. We figure my labor was just under 20 hours and less than 5 minutes of pushing. As far as a 2nd birth goes, the only part that seemed typical was how quickly she was born and I am so grateful that when she was ready, she came.

What’s up?

It’s been awhile since I actually wrote something with decent substance and I am not promising that this will have any of that, but I’ll certainly try.

A few weeks ago I floated to another hospital and was able to witness an amazing, unmediated, beautiful birth led by a midwife I had not yet seen deliver a baby. My mind was blown. Mom was trying to push on her side and baby was unhappy. The midwife gently suggested she adjust her positioning and just like that baby was happy again. The mom let her body do all the work. She pushed when she felt like it and rested when she needed to. Then, she realized her body could not stop pushing and less than a minute later the baby’s head was born with a nucal cord x1. A few seconds later baby was out and up on mom’s chest. I took over the camera so dad could cut the cord and I caught it on film for him. Every time I see a birth, my heart literally explodes with joy and excitement. I know birth is not always like that, but it is BECAUSE of births like this that my passion is fueled and I am reminded once more that yes, Sarah, this is where you belong.

My mom is doing ok. She is on a new chemo med that is not nearly as hard on her body. She still gets really tired but has had a lot more energy to spend time with the kids and work in the classroom. This is all so encouraging. Looking back to when this all began on October 24th, it’s hard to believe almost 5 months have passed since the diagnosis.

School is going alright. I don’t feel like this semester is better than last semester, which is strange because the load is not harder. I have been struggling with one of the professors but I *think* we are finally on the same page. I always wish I was doing better grade-wise, which is me just being too hard on myself. I am doing FINE. As and Bs are great! I just want more As than Bs and sometimes it’s just not in the cards. I’m learning not to be so hard on myself, especially with the load I have while in school between work and family.

My son, Logan, turned 5 a month ago. We got him registered and accepted into the school of our choice for kindergarten which is pretty crazy and exciting! Evelyn is a ball of fire as usual. She still doesn’t sleep through the night and is starting to show her girliness more with more diva and sass. You can follow me on instagram if you want more current, daily updates.

Have a great weekend!

shadow

I have been thinking about how I can start to get more hands-on experience in the field of women, pregnancy and childbirth. I can certainly shadow the midwives that I know here at the hospital, however, I feel like I need something different right now. I need a new perspective on the whole birth thing. So I contacted a local CPM, a midwife who does home births. She has attended more than 3000 births and has the kind of experience and statistics I am seeking to learn from. We have emailed a few times. I can’t wait to meet her!

Have you shadowed a midwife? What was your experience like?

Hailey’s Home Birth

Happy Friday! Enjoy this beautiful home birth story. If you would like to share your story here, please email me. midwife101blog@gmail.com

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My Planned Home birth
It was late Saturday night July 17, 2011 I woke at around 11pm with intense cramping. I headed to the bathroom thinking maybe that was it. (Being 41 wks I headed there a lot) I was on my way back to bed when another one started. This wasn’t a maybe, it was a yes I am in labor! After weeks, yep weeks of prodromal labor this was it. I woke Allen and let him know it was time. He headed downstairs to get a few things together. The contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes and stopping me in my tracks. In between contractions I called my friend Robbi and the midwives and asked them to head over. I was officially putting my hypnobirthing into practice with every contraction. After 2 {painful} hospital births (that ended with epidural one of which only worked on half my body), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Robbi and my 2 midwives and 1 midwife apprentice arrived around 11:20am. I instinctual found my labor position over the back of couch and labored there while Allen and Robbi got the pool ready.
I was relaxing and letting my body do what it needed. It was probably around 1:30 that I was having a hard time standing during a contraction so I decided it was a good time to get in the pool. I was in transition at this point and getting in the water honestly felt like turning back the clock about 4 cm!  Really I know why they call it the aquadural. During this time the midwives were watching closely from the other room(I have a split level). It was 15-20 minutes later that my water broke. I let everyone know and wow did the contractions change. I was in my zone at that point making sure I was breathing and relaxing. It was only a few contractions later that the midwives came down the stairs to tell me that I was pushing. I wasn’t aware how close we were until the I experienced the ring of fire. It was only for a moment as the contractions started doubling up. My body was pushing and Parker was coming. He was born at 2:26 am 10.1 lbs and 21 1/4 in long.
We waited for the cord to stop pulsing before it was cut because of the many benefits. Parker nursed immediately and was weighed and measured right on our couch while we watched and they enjoyed some cuddle time too. We headed upstairs to our bed and settled in for a few days.
Ava was able to see her brother within 30 minutes of being born.
Home birth is not for everyone but for our family it was perfect. We did our research and the benefits outweighed the minimal risk for us. I wouldn’t give birth in a hospital again unless it was medically necessary. The experience of having the midwife watching and waiting with us was so much more relaxing than nurses and doctors coming in with a lot of beeps. I never could relax in the hospital and I think that led to a lot of the pain during contractions I felt there. I went into this natural birth knowing I could do it and didn’t have a choice if I wanted to stay home. Now a year later I look back and am overwhelmed at what our midwife allowed us to experience by coming into our home.

Defining Midwifery

I have seen this article floating around the childbirth interwebs and cannot help it any longer. I must post this and share the anthropological aspect of midwifery. It’s kind of funny because, not a few weeks ago, a friend had mentioned to me that the study of childbirth by an anthropologist mainly focuses on midwifery around the globe. I had not really thought about anthropology, however I have had thoughts about creating and influencing the childbirth atmosphere to be more like other countries’ views of this life-changing event. In my own opinion, pregnancy and childbirth are thought of in the medical world as a disease or illness, which is far from it! Granted, there are situations in which medicine is necessary. I’m not talking about those situations. I’m talking about a normal, healthy pregnancy with little to no risks…those are the births that belong in a home surrounded by a midwife, family and friends (or not, in some cases…see Unassisted Birth).

The link below goes to my “Behind the Midwife” page where I think this article belongs. This is why I want to become a midwife, this is what and who a midwife is and if anyone has questions, it’s a great way to give answers. Sometimes, I wish I could whip out something witty and awesome when someone asks me WHY or WHAT IS THAT when I tell them why I’m going back to school. It’s easy to say that I don’t care what anyone else thinks, but the truth is that I do care and that some people just don’t get it. Fine, but at least this article does a wonderful, beautiful job of defining midwifery from an anthropologists point of view. Enjoy.

Midwifery by Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD

Happy New Year!

I am amazed by how empowering this blog has been for me. I hope to blog more often as plans begin to fall into place as I further my education.

Our family has been through a lot in the last 6 months and we’ve had to put my doula training on hold for now. As soon as we have the funds, I will take the workshop and continue on my journey. I look at becoming a doula just one of many ways I can gain confidence, experience and education.

A few things I’m looking forward to this year:

  • Doula certification
  • Lactation certification
  • Starting pre-rec classes in the fall
  • Any hands on experience I can get!
  • Finding a doula mentor

Keep following along! I also have some great ideas for the blog. More to come on that.

The Reading List

I want to note the things I’ve read and hopefully stay on top of reviewing those materials once I’ve finished the reading. Hopefully this can also be helpful to those of you seeking great resources whether you’re pregnant or going to school. Bolded items indicate that I’ve read the book and there’s a link to a review.

In no particular order:

  1. Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein
  2. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
  3. Labor of Love by Cara Muhlhahn
  4. Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
  5. The Birth Partner Handbook by Carl Jones
  6. Husband Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley
  7. Natural Birth, the Bradley Way by RObert Bradley
  8. Ask a Midwife by Catherine Parker-Littler (REVIEW TO COME)
  9. Pocket Guide to Fetal Monitoring and Assessment by Susan Martin Tucker
  10. The Labor Progress Handbook by Penny Simkin
  11. Core Curriculum for Maternal-Newborn Nursing by Susan Mattson and Judy E. Smith
  12. Diary of a Midwife: The Power of Positive Childbearing by Juliana van Olphen-Fehr
  13. Midwives: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian (just for fun)
  14. Unspeakable Losses: Healing from Miscarriage, Abortion and other Fetal Loss by Kim Klueger-Bell (great for nurses too).
  15. A Child is Born by Lennart Nilsson
  16. Any of the many Labor/delivery/Perinatal nursing books published, produced by AWHONN, such as Periantal Nursing
  17. Varney’s Midwifery by Helen Varney (no not a midwife, but the info here is invaluable to an OB nurse as well).
  18. The Breastfeeding Answerbook by LaLecheLeague International
  19. Labor and Delivery in my Pocket ( www.inmypocketbooks.com )
  20. Resource/website to get a HUGE selection of books and teaching materials relating to Childbirth, Midwifery, Lactation, Parenting, Newborn/Childcare:

    www.1cascade.com